Oliver Cromwell – How do you feel about the people you and your army butchered in Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland?
I am always asked this question. My answer is often heard, yet not accepted.
What the Irish Catholic people are quick to forget is the slaughter of 30,000 Protestants in the year of 1641. They murdered women and children as they lay in their beds..! This was a brutal rebellion against the ordinary peasant folk, loyal to England.
I had to go to Ireland to avenge their brutal deaths and to restore Law and Order. Example had to be made.
In Drogheda and in Wexford, we defeated the rebel forces, but many escaped and sought refuge in the Church taking women and children as human shields. We offered them all safe quarter to be arrested and Tried. They refused. We beseeched the women and children to leave the fortified buildings but the Papist priests ordered them to stay and defy us. On many occasions the Rebels did surrender and bloodshed in battle was avoided. In Drogheda, and again in Wexford, our offer was rebuked. We acted within the rules of warfare in the 17th Century.
The bringing of Ireland to our control involved regrettable acts of war, but setting a strong example prevented untold horror in other areas with the native Irish Rebels keen to make a peaceful settlement.
At New Ross, for instance, the rebels accepted our terms and no blood was shed. We gave to them, a religious freedom, but would not allow them to celebrate the now illegal Roman Catholic ritual of Mass and naturally, English rule was paramount.
Next: Sensitive Questions about Ireland – Grace Dieu. Click to read Oliver’s answer.